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Reducing voter participation

Published March 17. 2012 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

Did you ever believe you could be denied your right to vote in America? That only people with right credentials could vote? That only those people with government issued photo identification would be allowed to vote? Never happened before.

The majority Republican Party is now making an effort for that to happen with House Bill 934.

HB 934 is a thinly disguised attempt to reduce voter participation for thousands of people. Who are those people? The young (18 plus without drivers licenses), the working poor, the elderly, those with disabilities, those who have let their driver's licenses expire - all those eligible voters who, for whatever reason, do not have a current photo ID. Those who might vote for the Democratic party.

As school kids in history class we were told about the Poll Tax, a financial barrier which prevented African-Americans and the poor from voting. We had to pass the 24th amendment to the Constitution to repeal that unjust law. Like the Poll Tax, HB Bill 934 clearly violates the Voting Rights Act and may cause the Department of Justice to act.

The reason for this bill? To prevent "voter fraud." Well, there is no voter fraud. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania has found no evidence there is voter fraud in the state that a photo ID would solve.

In response to my correspondence to State Representative Jerry Knowles regarding the difficulty for many citizens to obtain a current photo ID he replied, " I have offered to provide transportation and assistance for Senior Citizens to obtain Photo Identification Cards if they are unable to travel to a PennDOT Center. He further writes, "I feel the minor inconvenience of being required to present a photo identification in order to protect our rights to vote is a small price to pay."

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center issued a report which said that HB934 would cost more than $11 million in the first year alone! Small price, in a time of recession, to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

I would respectfully ask readers to call Representative Jerry Knowles and Senator David Argall to advise them of your views. This subject has enormous consequences for our right and ability to vote.


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